From Lovers to Friends

“Why are old lovers able to become friends? Two reasons. They never truly loved each other, or they love each other still.” ~ Whitney Otto, How to Make an American Quilt

It was eighteen years ago when we were together.  Much has happened since then.  He is now married and has two daughters.  I have been married and divorced, and I now have a daughter.  We have seen each other several times over the course of the last eighteen years, but this past July, at our annual international tournament, was the first time that we had an opportunity to be alone and really talk to and spend time with each other.

We slipped easily into conversation, and it was as though we had never lost touch, had never been separated by time and distance, and had never broken each other’s hearts.  I realized then how I had fallen in love with him eighteen years ago.  He is funny, smart, charming, well skilled at martial arts, and there is a level of comfort that I feel with him that I do not usually have with others.  Many people have asked me how I can be so friendly with him, an ex who had lied to me the entire time we were together, and who in essence had made me an unknowing mistress.
I suppose the answer is that I really do not know how.  All I know is that in many ways, I trust him.  I know that because he has already hurt me and has tried throughout the years to undo the hurt that he caused me, I feel as though I can trust him to not do it again.  Maybe this time, there are no stakes, and I can be friends with him freely, without expectation, and without hope for anything more.  Maybe what I feel for him is what true love really means, or maybe, what he and I had eighteen years ago was not really love, but just a friendship that had been taken to a place where it should never have gone.

The Return

“Something told him that something was coming to an end. Not the world, exactly. Just the summer. There would be other summers, but there would never be one like this. Ever again.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

After twenty years, I finally returned to Termoli.  It felt like a homecoming of sorts.  It was bitter and it was sweet.  I regret that I waited so long to return.  After all, A passed away ten years ago.  I wanted to come then to pay my respects and to say goodbye, but life and situations got in the way, and this year was the first time that I saw a clear path back to this magical place.  It was as if all the stars aligned just so that I could make this journey.

His parents met me at the airport.  I saw them as soon as I exited the terminal.  I saw the love and happiness in their faces, and I felt the love and joy in their warm kisses and embrace.  We all cried tears of happiness, tears of pain, and tears for the loss of A, our beloved, who connected us then and who still continues to connect us all.

We swam in the sea every morning, and we dined al fresco in the evenings.  After dinner, we walked amidst ancient fortresses and breathed in salty sea air.  We drank strong cups of espresso, and ate glorious fresh food from the sea.  The sun was strong and beamed upon us every day.  At night, the skies were dark in the way that made the stars seemed brighter.

I will always remember A.  He will forever live in my heart.  Without him, I never would have known of this beautiful place, and I would never have had the honor to meet his beautiful family and friends.  He is what brought me to Termoli.  I have tasted a slice of heaven, and I know he is in his own personal heaven watching over all of us.

Twenty

“When you loved someone and had to let them go, there will always be that small part of yourself that whispers, “What was it that you wanted and why didn’t you fight for it?” ~ Shannon L. Adler, 300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask Before Marriage

My phone vibrates to alert me that I received a text message.  I check, and it is another message from him. It is the tenth one.  This and the previous nine remain unanswered.

There was a time when the very thought of him made my heart beat faster, when the sun seemed to shine more brightly when he was around me, and when the nights would not feel so long because of him.

But now my mind is indifferent, and my heart no longer beats more quickly.  When I see his name come up on my phone screen, I sigh heavily.

My phone vibrates again.  Eleven messages.  Twelve.  Thirteen.

He let me go once.  He did not love me when my heart was beating only for him.  Fourteen.

He allowed the sun to go down on me, and for the darkness to drown me.  Fifteen.

I cried myself to sleep on countless lonely nights.  Sixteen.

He left me for dead in the vast sea of my loneliness.  Seventeen.  I brought myself back to life.  Eighteen.

The pain I felt because of him made me stronger.  Nineteen.

I learned to value myself and trust that in the end, no matter how much I lost, I was going to be ok.

My phone vibrates again.  Twenty unanswered text messages from him.

“Hi,” I finally text back.

Tragedy and Miracles

“It strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.” ~ Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
I woke up Sunday morning to hear of the tragedy that happened in Orlando, Florida.  It is the worst mass shooting in American history.  My heart aches for all the victims and their families.  It is just so senseless and tragic.  Events like this make me want to give up on the human race.


On Saturday morning, G and I had brunch with my old neighbor, S, who moved to Ohio last summer.  She came back to NYC to visit with her two sons, and her one month old baby daughter.  I had not even realized that she was pregnant, let alone that she had given birth.  She had to undergo fertility treatments to conceive her boys, and so this baby was completely unexpected.  She said that she had thought that she was going through pre-menopause when her cycles suddenly stopped, but a visit to her doctor confirmed that she was instead pregnant.  Imagine that — her fertility doctors had sworn that she would never be able to conceive without medical intervention, and yet here she is now.  It just goes to show that the human body is a wonder and a mystery and that sometimes miracles do happen.

After brunch, G and I went to Bowne Park in Queens.  The park has a pond that is home to families of turtles.

And apparently it is also home to people who know how to have a good time, as evidenced by this sidewalk chalk advertisement.  G actually wanted to ring the number.  I had to explain to her that it was not real.  Oh, how I love the innocence of children.  Later on, I got to thinking about what her nine year old mind considers “a good time.”  Was she thinking that if we rang the number that little ponies and puppies would magically appear?  I should ask her later.

The Truth is Now an Insult

“I know that even now, having watched enough television, you probably won’t even refer to them as lepers so as to spare their feelings. You probably call them ‘parts-dropping-off challenged’ or something.” ~ Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

In this politically correct world in which we now live, we can no longer call people out for certain behaviors because they might be part of a protected class.  If we say anything that might be construed as offensive to a member of a protected class, we are labeled as racist, as a bigot, or simply an asshole.

There is this guy on the train that takes the same train as I do every morning.  It is always a packed train, and everyone knows where to stand on the platform so that it lines up perfectly to where the train door opens when it stops.  In order to stand at that prime spot, you have to get there well in advance of the time when the train is due to arrive.  For the most part, people are relatively decent and do not really try to jump the line to get to the front.  This guy, however, straggles in right when the train arrives, but forcibly uses his massive size to cut in front of everyone and push people so that he can board the train first and find a seat. And because of his enormous girth, he takes up two seats.  He has no regard for the frail, elderly, or children, and his only goal is to make sure he is first on the train so that he can always find a seat.

Now, this is New York City.  This is a city where most people do not hold their tongue and when someone commits an offense, they are called out on it.  If this guy was a skinny Caucasian male, the whole train would have been in an uproar over his lack of train etiquette.  But because he is fat and Muslim, no one says a word.  No one wants to say anything to him about his disgusting behavior because to do so might cause others to deem you to be prejudiced and a bigot.  No one wants to say what they are really thinking: that he is a fat pig who uses his size as an excuse to be an asshole.  Just to be clear, I do not call him a pig because he is fat.  I call him a pig because of his uncouth manners.

Fortunately for him, he has not yet pushed me.  I have only been a witness to his appalling actions. But if he does ever push me, I will most definitely say something to him.  I am not going to sit back and watch him get away with being an asshole just to spare his feelings.

Sometimes Words are Useless

“Once upon a time, each of us was somebody’s kid.  Everyone had a father, even if he never provided anything more than his seed.  Everyone had a mother, even if she had to leave us on a stranger’s doorstep.  No matter how we’re eventually raised, all of our stories begin the exact same way.  They all end the same, too.” ~ Brian K. Vaughan, Saga, Volume 1

Since the apocalypse didn’t happen, G and I went to Washington Square Park and we had lunch in the West Village on Saturday.  The weather was balmy with temperatures hovering around 82F/27C.

On Sunday evening, we went to the local pizzeria and each ordered a slice to take home to eat as we watched the Miss USA Pageant.  It was really a rare event, as she and I do not watch such programs.  We usually watch the news or foreign films together, as I am not such a big fan of pageants or even talent shows, but somehow it came on the television as we were trying to find something to watch, and she decided that she wanted to have a look.
The segment that we watched highlighted the lives of some of the contestants, and in particular it featured how the fathers of the contestants played a central role in the successes of the young women.  Some of the stories were quite touching.  I turned around to look at G, and I saw that she had tears rolling down her cheeks.  I asked her what was wrong, and she answered, simply, “I wish I had a dad that loves me like these dads love their daughters.”
I was gutted.  I was unsure how to answer so I just gave her a hug.  Sometimes words are just useless and at that moment I felt that nothing I could say would ease that longing in her heart for a father who loves and cares about her.

Latest Date For Apocalypse; Food Diary

“Apocalypse is a frame of mind.” [Nicodemus] said then. “A belief. A surrender to inevitability. It is a despair for the future. It is the death of hope.” ~ Jim Butcher, Death Masks

It turns out, scholars had miscalculated the end of the world as set by the Mayan calendar.  Scholars originally calculated the end of the world to be December 21, 2012, but they did not account for leap years. And so they were off by 1, 260 days, which brings us to June 3 / June 4, 2016.
We only have one or two days left.  How will you live out the last days of your life?
If the world does end in the next few days, it has been really nice knowing you all, and I will see you all on the other side.


In other news, I started a food diary.  Well, it’s not really a diary so much as it is just an account of my daily food intake.  I started yesterday, 1 June, as a sort of mid-year goal to keep track of my eating habits.
I can say that it really makes it less fun to eat when you hold yourself accountable and have to write down everything you consume.
Hopefully, this will help me with my fitness and weight goals.

California Trip; Series of Unfortunate Events

“Why don’t you go on west to California? There’s work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick an orange. Why, there’s always some kind of crop to work in. Why don’t you go there?” ~ John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

So much has happened since my last entry.  The biggest event that happened was that G and I, along with my cousin, C, took a quick trip out west to California in April.  We went to visit my cousin, Ivy, and her three young sons. She was widowed last year when she came home from work one evening to find her husband dead in their bed.  It was tragic, and even more so as she was at that time twenty weeks pregnant with their third child.She was featured on The Talk.  Her tragic story can be viewed here:

She has been extremely strong in the face of extreme loss and tragedy, and her faith in God has never wavered.  I salute her, as I have crumbled in lesser challenges.Our main purpose for visiting California was of course to visit my cousin and offer whatever support we could give, even if just emotional, and despite the rather grey circumstances, we ended up having an amazing time.  It was nice to reconnect with my cousin, and it was nice for G to to spend some time with her cousins.Ivy and her sons live in what I call Central California, somewhere in between Los Angeles and San Diego. Although I lived in California when I was younger, I had never been to San Diego.  As such, we took a side trip to San Diego and met with some blog friends who I have “known” since 2003.  It was our first meeting. I already love these friends, but it was so special to finally see them in person after over a decade of online friendship.Here is a little video collage of our trip:

This month of May has been challenging.  Earlier in the month, I had made it my mission to take G to a particular park to get a view of the Manhattan skyline sunset.  While I was able to make it to that park, I was not able to leave in style.  My car got a flat tire as I was leaving the park, and it took over an hour to finally get the spare tire (donut) installed.

As I was driving home, wouldn’t you believe it, but then the spare got a flat!  Unbelievable bad luck and timing.  Fortunately, I was able to catch the favor and grace of a friend who came to my rescue.The following week, on Mother’s Day actually, I started to feel very ill.  I was at the tire place getting my brand new tire installed and my wheels aligned when I felt as though I was going to faint.  I made it home just in time before I collapsed into my bed with a high-grade fever.I was incapacitated and delirious for the next three days.  I was so weak, I could barely even sit up in my bed.  Poor G.  I couldn’t even take her to school on that Monday.  I did not make it back into my office until that Thursday.

In the middle of all that chaos, I had a falling out with a friend.  Prior to my becoming ill, she had asked me to borrow some money for another crisis she was having with her family overseas.  She has a history of constantly borrowing money, and as usual, she promised to pay me back as soon as humanly possible.  I reluctantly agreed to lend her some money, but then I had become deathly ill, and so my promise to lend her money was soon forgotten.I did not hear from her during the entire time I was sick, but I finally contacted her when I was recovered enough to make contact again with the public.  She responded with a text telling me that she was angry at me for not lending her the money when she needed it, and I told her that I had fallen very ill, and that I had totally forgotten about the issue.  She was still angry and she said that I was mean for saying yes but not following through with it.  I then reminded her that she in fact was still in debt to me for a few thousand dollars, and that she really had no right to be so angry with me.  She responded that she was tired of me hanging her debt over her head and that being my friend was “exhausting.”I was in no mood for her text rants and ended it by saying that I was done with her “friendship” as well, and that her conscience should tell her how much she should pay me back.  She owes me close to five thousand dollars.  I have a feeling I will never see that money ever again.

It is never a good feeling to end a “friendship” no matter how real or true it is, but I feel good that I am finally moving on from a relationship/friendship that was so toxic.

Slow Dance

“Nick stands up and offers his hand to me.  I have no idea what he wants, but what the hell, I take his hand anyway, and he pulls me up on my feet then presses against me for a slow dance and it’s like we’re in a dream where he’s Christopher Plummer and I’m Julie Andrews and we’re dancing on the marble floor of an Austrian terrace garden.  Somehow my head presses Nick’s t-shirt and in this moment I am forgetting about time and Tal because maybe my life isn’t over.  Maybe it’s only beginning.” ~ Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

On my fifteenth birthday, my parents let me host my first real teen party.  I invited a few friends over to my parent’s basement, and in lieu of gifts, I had them bring an unknown guest to the party.  My decorating options were limited as I was a poor teenager with restricted funds and who had parents who, well into Spring, still had not taken down the Christmas lights.  As such, I made the best of it and used the colorful Christmas lights and disco ball strobe lights to decorate my birthday party.  As the party got underway and the guests were starting to arrive, I locked my target onto an unknown guest whom my friend Ruth had brought to my party.  The dark basement, illuminated only by the tacky colorful lights, seemed to somehow frame the stranger’s tall and lean silhouette in such a way that I felt the first stirrings of teenage lust.  Ruth introduced me to the stranger.  Nick.  He had a nice smile that made his eyelids crinkle upwards.  He wished me a happy birthday and we started to dance.  Other guests started to arrive, but I was not interested.  I just wanted to be around Nick.  Pet Shop Boys was in the background.

“You’ve got a heart of glass or a heart of stone
Just you wait ’til I get you home
We’ve got no future, we’ve got no past…

Then, the mother of all slow songs started playing.  Almost as if on cue, he and I move slowly towards each other.  He takes my hand, and we are standing close to each other, his breath warm on my cheek.

“Swaying room as the music starts
Strangers making the most of the dark
Two by two their bodies become one
I see you through the smokey air
Can’t you feel the weight of my stare
You’re so close but still a world away
What I’m dying to say, is that I’m crazy for you
Touch me once and you’ll know it’s true
I never wanted anyone like this
It’s all brand new, you’ll feel it in my kiss
I’m crazy for you, crazy for you…”

His hand is on my back, and I feel him pulling me towards him.  Our mouths are so close that our lips softly touch.  I feel the room spinning.  Or is it I who is spinning?  I feel the warmth of his body against mine and I feel so comfortable, almost as if I could sleep.  I close my eyes and I feel as though I am floating.  I don’t want the song to end.  I don’t want the dance to end.  I want to be in this moment forever, just me and Nick slow dancing for all eternity.

That dance, that moment, is all I can remember about that night.

Yesterday, I turned forty-five — thirty long years after that first slow dance.

All I wanted for my birthday this year: to slow dance with a man and feel the way that I felt that night, so long ago.

Vision

“Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It’s like the tide going out, revealing whatever’s been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future. The ruin you’ve made.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

I’ve been dreaming about sight lately.  I know that most of you do not believe that dreams mean anything, but there still must be some reason as to why there is a central theme to my dreams as of late.

The other night, I dreamt that I borrowed GP’s car.  I was driving his car at night, and the roads were only dimly lit by the street lights.  I was driving on a curvy and winding road.  I had driven all night, and somehow made it my to destination by the morning.  As I pulled his car into the driveway, an unknown man yells from his car, “Hey, your lights are off.  You’ve been driving all night with no lights on.”

GP was there to greet my arrival.  He promptly reprimanded me for driving his car with limited visibility.

♡♡♡

The following night I dreamt that I had taken out my contacts to clean them. When I put them back in, my left eye started to hurt, so I took it back out.  I look at my left contact, and it is clearly ripped.  I debate whether I should put it back in because I am nearly blind without contacts or if I should instead just take out both contacts and walk around blindly.  Wearing eyeglasses were not an option in my dream.  I finally opted to take out both contacts and walk around blindly.

♡♡♡

In both dreams, the theme is that I have limited visibility.  Although I am not a firm believer that dreams foretell the future or give us any real insight to our subconscious mind, I do believe that dreams may mirror some of the fears and worries that we carry in our minds during our waking moments. Apparently, I seem to fear that I am going through life blindly but am willing to endure pain just so I can get to my final destination, wherever that may be.